Unsettling Femininity: Selections from the Frye Art Museum Collection

This event is in the past
Tue - Sun, through Aug 23
Frye Art Museum First Hill
The show is curated from the Frye permanent collection, bringing together mostly German and Austrian late-19th- and early-20th-century paintings of women. The pieces are curated with the intention of interrogating the act of looking at these portrayals of women and how it plays into ideas surrounding power, gender, sex, morality, and purity in contemporary Western culture. While some of the included pieces seem like obvious selections for this show—such as the rather iconic snake-wrapped woman in Franz von Stuck's Die Sünde (The Sin)—there are still others whose lesson is more subtly drawn out, such as Gabriel von Max's Seifenblasen (Soap Bubbles), categorized under "artifice" in the back gallery of the exhibition. The painting depicts a woman gazing into a mirror, while Cupid is perched on a wall in the background. He is blowing bubbles and making direct eye contact with the viewer. In placing the bubble between the woman and the mirror, Max is forcing the viewer to think about her perceived vanity, as Cupid's presence suggests longing for love. JASMYNE KEIMIG